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Name: People v. Magee
Case #: F039784
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/20/2003
Subsequent History: Rev. denied 6/11/03

Appellant was convicted of being an accessory to a robbery in violation of Penal Code section 32. The jury was instructed pursuant to CALJIC 6.40 that they had to find that a robbery had been committed, but it was not instructed on the elements of robbery (with the consent of both counsel.) The appellate court here found that the failure to instruct on the elements of robbery violated appellant’s right to have the jury find beyond a reasonable doubt every element of the crime. (Contrary to the decision issued by the Fourth District in People v. Shields (1990) 222 Cal. App. 3d 1.) Even in the absence of a request, in a section 32 prosecution, the jury must be instructed on the elements of the underlying offense unless the defendant stipulates to the occurrence of the felony. However, the error was subject to a harmless error analysis under Chapman v. California. Here, the evidence establishing the robbery was uncontradicted and therefore the error did not contribute to the verdict.